Leaving the rat race…
I remember being a kid, when speed limits were much lower than they are now, and road rage would have been considered socially unacceptable and ridiculously immature. People expected to have to wait in line once in a while, and they could do so AND be cheerful to the folks around them. We sat at the dinner table with our grandparents for longer than four minutes and we listened to and respected them. We weren’t in too much of a hurry to wave at our neighbors or stop over for a chat while they were weeding their garden.
Over the years, the pace we’ve been running at is just plain wearing me out. I find myself often saying, “I have no energy for that”, and I don’t mean physical energy. I can’t even find the energy to THINK about some things (the Ebola virus, Miley Cyrus’ decisions, preteen girl drama, lift kits on pick-up trucks never driven outside the city), and it’s no wonder. Look at the pressure we’ve put on ourselves. We can’t just get things done anymore, now we have to be super-mom, super-wife-, super-woman-at-work or we’re just a failure. When we consider all of the things we DO put our energy toward, how we’re not all certifiably insane is beyond me.
Here’s just a sampling of where an average American woman spends her time every day:
- 30-60 minutes cooking healthy gluten-free, free range, grass-fed, sugar-free, caffeine-free, soy-free, peanut-free, GMO-free, dairy-free, MSG-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free, carb-free, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free, egg-free, never fried, vegetarian, vegan, farm raised market veggie, steamed, baked, kissed-by-angels, sprinkled in fairy dust meals for her family (and don’t even think about cheating and using the microwave because you’re a horrible mother if you do).
- 45-60 minutes working out so you can keep your heart and lungs healthy, maintain your bone density, stave off diabetes and Alzheimer’s and, I can hardly imagine the horror, prevent your butt from sagging.
- 7-9 hours of sleep per night so that your mind is sharper, you’re more focused throughout the day, you have the energy you need all day, and you’re not a troll to be around.
- 45 minutes to 1 hour getting ready for work, and you really need to be on top of the current fashion trends, otherwise your younger colleagues will put you to shame.
- 9-10 hours of work each day because if you work any less, you run the risk of being irrelevant and passed up by someone more competitive (if you fail to remember this, your boss will kindly remind you). You should also consider being an SME (subject matter expert) and teaching a webinar, writing a blog, or better yet, a book. This will need to be done and maintained outside of working hours.
- 1 hour per day doing meditation or yoga so you can stay balanced and centered. You really should also try to figure out why you’re so tense and not keeping up with everyone else you know.
- 1 hour per day of reading so that you can stay up to date on current events, sound intellectual when you’re engaged in casual conversation and again, keep that mind sharp!
- 1-3 hours per day of running kids to their practices and games.
- 2-3 hours of quality time with your children, and mom, really engage with your kids. Why are you so distracted anyway?
- 30 minutes per day of walking the dog. Dogs are built for exercise, so you cannot neglect them or they’ll start misbehaving and chewing everything in the house.
- 1-2 hours per day of quality time with your spouse. If you stop making your husband feel like the man of your dreams, he’s going to become interested in his admin assistant at work and he’ll leave you and have a new family with her, and you’ll be a single parent and have to live in a condo and you don’t get enough exercise or eat right so you’ll be unattractive and single forever and your family will be so disappointed in you, and you’ll die alone and you’ll get an “F” in life!!! So make quality time for him, okay?
Well, it looks like we already need over 32 hours a day to make this work,and we haven’t even gotten to:
- running errands (birthday gifts, household needs, clothes, grocery shopping, etc.)
- cleaning (if your house doesn’t look like a Pottery Barn catalog, don’t invite anyone over)
- laundry (8-10 loads a week, and don’t forget sheets, Mom! You don’t do them often enough.)
- volunteering (I mean, you do CARE about your community, don’t you??? Isn’t this where your KIDS LIVE???)
- yard work (heaven help you if your grass doesn’t look like carpeting, what kind of disgusting slob are you?)
- kids parties on the weekends (don’t show up if that gift isn’t absolutely perfect)
- socializing with friends (why don’t you take time for yourself, Mom? You deserve it, you really should take a break once in a while…)
Okay, so I’m being a bit snarky here, but I’m betting that a lot of women have some of these same thoughts, trying to compete, keep up, or at a minimum we just have a terrorizing fear that we’re the most horrible mother alive because our kids ate non-organic mac and cheese and we don’t give one crap about their school fundraiser.
Does anyone else want to join me in leaving the rat race? And can we not be rats? What about pandas? Could we start a panda “slow crawl in no hurry” movement?
Let me know if you’ve ever felt like you’re just ready to surrender it all and simply live. I sure am.